Merry Christmas

Yesterday was quite emotional starting with the goodbyes at Rehab. Moira was first and I could see her fighting hard not to cry. Her and Janet got along so well and the work Moira did resulted in some significant gains, namely being able to transfer from wheelchair to bed. Moira will consult with the PT at Connect to ensure he knows as much about Janet as possible. Connie was next and she surprised me by totally losing it as she wished Janet well. Connie will continue to work with Janet on her swallowing and will visit her at Connect for dinner on Boxing Day. We then said goodbye to Jessica who was working with Barb at the time. Barb started crying then so did everyone else. Janet handed out happy face lollipops to everyone that was there to say goodbye to including all her table mates. She held it together really well, better than the rest of us and was ready to go to Connect by the time we were done. There could not have been a more fitting end to Janet’s stay at KGH than to have Emma as one of her nurses. She was there to help us through day one in Rehab and she got Janet up in the morning of her last day there. She told me she was so impressed with Janet’s ability to communicate and smile and is amazed at how Janet is progressing.

We pulled into the parking lot at Connect much later than expected and Janet started crying like she didn’t want to be there. She was fine once we got to her room and she saw where Laurel had put her clothes and things. Garrett, a staff member, came in to introduce himself and offer his assistance. He seems like a real nice guy and Janet will get along with him just fine. He got Janet some lunch and sat with us as she ate so he could see how good she is at swallowing. Shannon, the house coordinator, joined us as well and has already started making notes as to what Janet likes to eat and what she doesn’t like. Our visit was brief but gave Janet a good feel for the place before we rushed off home for Christmas Eve.

At home Janet had time to visit with Laurel, Raju, Heather, Allan and Cam before we all headed off to Trinity for the Christmas Eve service. Everyone was warned of the impending tear fest when it came time to sing Silent Night but that didn’t make things any drier. Janet enjoyed the service, singing along to some of the carols, watching the drama and listening intently to Wayne’s message. The tears started flowing even before Wayne was finished instructing everyone on how to use that moment to express love for those you came to the service with. Janet is so aware now that she was clearly comprehending what Wayne was saying as she started crying in anticipation of what was about to happen. The whole family surrounded Janet in the aisle and had a good happy cry. Thanks to the team at Trinity for delivering a service that allowed for a moment like that to happen.

Back at home it was time for our traditional “Nibbly Night”. We treated Janet to a variety of foods that Connie would not approve of yet but with close supervision Janet did just fine. I think she is capable of eating more real food, she just needs to be reminded to swallow and not put too much in her mouth at once. The opening of the Christmas pj’s was next, always a highlight, and Janet was very happy with hers. We Skyped Andrew in for the big event and even got to “meet” his girlfriend Rachel.

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We got back to Connect at 8:30, well past Janet’s usual bedtime but she was resisting all the way, pretending she wasn’t tired. She started to cry again as we hit the parking lot but once she was busy putting things away in her room she was fine and by the time she was lying in her very comfy bed she started to move towards sleepy time. I laid down with her and she was sleeping within three minutes of me doing so. Bob, the evening staff member, came in it make sure all was well. He said someone would check on Janet every hour as this was her first night. I’m glad Janet was content enough to fall asleep before I left.

Raju and Laurel went out to Connect to get Janet this morning giving me a much appreciated chance to sleep in a little. When they arrived at the house Janet was all smiles wearing her Christmas pj’s. She gobbled up more illicit food at breakfast enjoying some scrambled eggs and fruit salad, not puréed, along with half a cup of coffee. She was quite determined to be independent in her eating often rolling her eyes at my instructions or cheekily showing me her empty mouth. We opened our $30 in 30 minutes presents and then the ones from Mary/Gaga. Always good for a laugh.

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More tears flowed as Laurel and Raju said goodbye on their way to Edmonton. Janet has had a fun and emotional Christmas so far and it has been a real blessing having her so involved. Hard to believe she is able to participate so well. Looking forward to more fun this afternoon.

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